As a child, it’s likely that you heard statements like the ones below (or something similar) from your well-meaning parents.
“Did you know that so-and-so aunty’s son got 98% on his Math exam?”
“Our neighbour’s daughter has got admission in IIT.”
“I met my friend at the bank and he mentioned his daughter has completed all levels of Trinity piano exams.”
Sometimes these statements were followed up by not-so-subtle questions: What about you? Why are you wasting your time like this? When are you doing to do better in your studies?
The previous generation of young parents often believed that comparisons produced better results. That comparisons propelled children to work harder and achieve more. Perhaps they believed that it wasn’t really comparison – but simply infusing a sense of healthy competition in their children.
I’m not judging if they were right or not. But perhaps we can examine if we still carry around in our emotional backpacks the weight of comparison.
Pastor Craig Groeschel says…
The fastest way to kill something special is by comparing it to something else.
And how true that can be of our lives.
Perhaps you want to write a book or launch an online music class. Perhaps you plan to venture into starting a business or head into a new career as a leadership coach. Perhaps you dream of going back to college or owning your own pastry store.
What happens when you start comparing yourself to others in your line of potential work?
The answer to that is often ‘pursuit paralysis’ – a term I’ve coined to describe how we decide to park our dreams because we think to ourselves: “What’s the point? I’m not going to measure up to what’s already out there.”
Friends, this couldn’t be further from the truth.
The world needs what you – specifically and uniquely you – bring to the table. Sure, there may be hundreds, if not thousands, of people who have already written a book or started a cake business or ventured into making a music album.
But they are not you. They don’t have your story, your one-of-a-kind experiences, your unique vision, your special creative touch, your insight.
In today’s social media-driven world, comparison is an uncannily easy game to play. We jump online and see the number of followers that someone in our field of work has or we see the kinds of responses that they receive on their posts – and that can be downright disheartening.
Comparisons can lead to dreams getting stifled as fears and insecurities take over.
Of course, no one advocates that you don’t do a market analysis or that you don’t take into account possible competitors. But we approach that task rationally and logistically – not emotionally.
Remember that you have a one-of-a-kind contribution to make. Don’t let anyone else’s journey – especially one they’ve curated for social media – stop you from pursuing your purpose.
When the urge to compare yourself to others seizes you, remember to pause for a minute and reflect on the truth that comparison can steal your contentment and kill your dream.
Today, instead of falling into the trap of comparison, plant your feet securely on your talents and what you bring to the table.
Author: Susan Narjala
With a master’s degree in journalism from Syracuse University, New York, other publications she’s written for include: Indiaanya, FaithIt, Her View from Home, The MOPS Blog, For Every Mom, The Hindu, Motherly, Engage Magazine (Ravi Zacharias International Ministries) and Parent.com.